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AIBU to think you should have to declare if you've had private tutoring on your UCAS form?

(213 Posts)
ArcheryAnnie Wed 15-Jan-20 23:40:34

DS and his mates are at a state school and have sent in their UCAS forms, and are getting offers. They are all good kids of varying ability, most of whom get their heads down and work, but it is really noticeable that the kids who have had extensive tutoring in addition to school are the ones who have the best predicted grades and who are therefore getting the offers they want.

This is obvious, of course. Tutoring works, otherwise people wouldn't pay for it. I have no criticism of anyone who can afford it helping their kid in this way - and plenty do. 42% of kids in London get private tutoring, and the national average is something like 27%.

But other factors in your life that might confer advantages or disadvantages - like going to a private school, or growing up in care - are asked for there in plain sight on your UCAS form. Tutoring, which has such a big impact on your A-level grades, isn't asked about at all. It seems only fair that this is asked about too.

So - AIBU to think the UCAS form should ask how much private tutoring you have had?

Januarydontbecool Wed 15-Jan-20 23:44:06

What’s the incentive for people to answer honestly? It’s not the sort of thing that can easily be checked up on.

ArcheryAnnie Wed 15-Jan-20 23:46:13

Probably not much incentive, true - but at least ask!

I'd be interested to know the reasons of people who would NOT like to see this done.

Somerville Wed 15-Jan-20 23:46:14

Terrible idea. This would benefit those the most who haven’t had help from paid tutors but have highly educated parents who have taught their kids to a high level. Mine learn a language from my husband so are much better at it than most others at school, it’s helped them a lot, the one who plans to study MFL especially grin but this wouldn’t be flagged as an advantage on a UCAS form under “tutoring” and there isn’t space to list every bit of parental help each child has had - and even if there were, university admission wouldn’t want to read something that long!

Januarydontbecool Wed 15-Jan-20 23:46:18

If I’m a teacher and help my son and his friend with my subject for no payment, would the friend have to declare it but not my son “as it’s just his Mum helping with his homework”?

Camomila Wed 15-Jan-20 23:46:28

I think it'd be pretty hard to quantify what counts as private tutoring or not...
eg, If mum's best mate is French and lets you practise speaking French with her all the time would that count or not, or if your older sibling who is at uni studying maths tutors you for maths etc...

aroundtheworldyet Wed 15-Jan-20 23:48:01

I think it would be interesting to see the statistics like any other survey.
But beyond that it’s a bit pointless

Kwkwjwkek Wed 15-Jan-20 23:50:14

I come from a culture where everyone kids gets tutoring. Whether the parents can afford it or not. They will pay for their children.
I knew a lot of people didn’t have tutoring whilst at school but it wasn’t something I’d discuss. I had a very clever friend and who I had no idea had tutoring. I went for my tuition lesson and to my surprise, she just left the tutors room. You could be really thick and still have tutoring...like me lol. Just because you have tuition doesn’t always mean they’re doing the extra work at home, just turning up for tuition.

I also feel that some parents just don’t think about getting tuition for their kids. Especially when they haven’t been brought up to have it.

Cryingoverspilttea Wed 15-Jan-20 23:54:09

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ArtieFufkinPolymerRecords Wed 15-Jan-20 23:54:14

What other advantages should they list - parental income? size of house? Family circumstances?
Lots of things have a bearing on how well a child is able to study and achieve, e.g. having their own bedroom; supportive, healthy parents; sporting and cultural opportunities, to name a few.

NewtonPulsifer Wed 15-Jan-20 23:55:41

Life isn’t fair though. Everyone experience of life is unique, some will have an easier path than others. This is the reality all along our lives. Good people have crap things happening to them and truly terrible people can live seemingly charmed life. It sucks but this idea wouldn’t make it any more or less fair.
With teenagers in the years before they apply to university, ask “what makes you, you?”. Apart from grades what else do they do that makes them interesting. These types of things can make a positive difference on someone’s life. Taking any opportunities they are offered along the way can open more doors than grades alone.

RainbowMum11 Wed 15-Jan-20 23:58:36

It was ever thus.

Some might need extra tutoring due to dyslexia or any other number of reasons.

Extra tuition at a-level doesn't guarantee anything in later life.

MT2017 Thu 16-Jan-20 00:05:48

DS is at a state school and has been throughout primary and secondary.

No tutors.

He has had two unconditional offers for his first and second choices to study Law.

What I think helped was his DofE Gold Award and went to a decent and relevant place for his work experience (which he sorted by himself).

YABU because tutoring isn't what gets those kids through. It's everything - expectations; family; history; finances - everything.

zasknbg Thu 16-Jan-20 00:07:41

What else would you ask for to be declared though, once you ask for tutoring?

The most obvious factor is the level of education of the parents. What if you go to a state school, have no tutoring but your mum is a maths lecturer. That doesn’t get declared when you apply for your maths degree. Oh did you just happen to be great at maths/work hard? Or did your mum help you with maths for 15 years every night and teach you every trick in the book.

What if you want to be a medical student and your uncle is a doctor and got you extensive work experience in many departments with his colleagues. That doesn’t get declared.

What if your brainy older sibling tutors you. That doesn’t get declared.

There are too many variables to even try to make it fair. One state school isn’t even the same as another state school. One private school isn’t the same as another private school. What if you go to a private boarding school because both your parents are dead? Are you privileged or lonely and lost? What if your parents are loaded and buy a fabulously expensive house next to a highly nationally ranked state secondary? Are you underprivileged to go to a state school?

I mean it’s kind of like everything. If your brother is a pilot, maybe you get cheap flights. If your father is a mechanic, maybe you get your car fixed for free. If your family has a history of a particular illness, maybe you get that.

Things cannot be totally fair. Would you dissect every aspect of a person’s life and discriminate against them if they have had any perceived advantage?

pelirocco123 Thu 16-Jan-20 00:10:19

I have a family member who went to a state school , no extra tuition and had offers from every Uni she applied to she chose Oxford
You arent being unreasonable you are being bloody ridiculous

Dancingontheedge Thu 16-Jan-20 00:10:38

There’s a science-fiction story about this, called ‘Welcome to the Monkey House’ Everyone has to be equal. It’s a scary read.

Dancingontheedge Thu 16-Jan-20 00:14:45

Not the one by Kurt Vonnegut! It’s about a society where you can tell who is the cleverest person, because they have induced tinnitus attacks to stop them surpassing others, and the most talented dancers are given calibrated weights.
No one excels, no one fails. Everyone is Normal.

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 16-Jan-20 00:17:10

The tutoring thing is really weird. When my kids were young it used to be a bit shameful to admit to being tutored: it was perceived as being for people who were a bit thick or messed around in class.

I can remember suggesting to a teacher friend of mine that she did a bit of tutoring on the side and she reacted like I’d suggested she prostituted herself or something. Some years on and she’s bought into tutoring like everyone else.

Halleli Thu 16-Jan-20 00:22:06

I tutor my kids myself - if they're struggling with a subject at school, I research it, find online resources, and then spend a couple of weekends working through it with them. I'm no physics teacher, but I managed to help dd1 get her head around electromagnetism.

Would this be the sort of thing my kids would have to declare?

Are children going to have to declare on their UCAS form the relative intelligence of their parents, and how much they cared about their education?

Will every possible factor that could possibly have given a child an advantage need to be declared in the future? If you're giving your French A-level grade, will you need to declare any time spent in France, for example?

Halleli Thu 16-Jan-20 00:22:24

My argument against your proposition is this: it's unworkable.

EL8888 Thu 16-Jan-20 00:33:56

I can see where you are coming from but there are lots other things that should probably be included as well, if fairness is your objective. A friend of my brother ALWAYS had a tutor (even when it wasn't a thing) through primary and secondary school. He didn't do well at university as there was no tutor helping him

TheoriginalLEM Thu 16-Jan-20 00:43:49

YABU my dd is severely dyslexic, she is predicted excellent grades at GCSE. Without tutoring her dyslexia would have held her back. But more importantly than that she works bloody hard, she has to work harder than her contemporaries to achieve and tutoring has meant that she has gone from not being able to read at all!! In year 6 to predicted 6-9 grades for her gcses. She can't write but can touch type at the speed of light, she had tutoring for that. She has two hours tutoring on a Saturday morning which she does enjoybut it extra work for her.

It puts us under a lot of financial strain but without it she would flounder.

Mumtown Thu 16-Jan-20 00:48:44

Surely those questions are just for data collection though? Surely a university doesn’t care where you went to school or whether your received free school meals?

blubelle7 Thu 16-Jan-20 00:55:24

My dad and mum both tutored my siblings and me . My mum teaches A level economics and geography, and my dad is a software developer who used to teach A level physics and has a PhD in Mathematics. I benefited essentially from "private tutoring" from professionals. I have two Masters degrees in engineering and DH also has an highly specialist job with similar qualifications. We both intend on tutoring our own children. Will people crack down on that too?

karencantobe Thu 16-Jan-20 01:18:33

Of course this disadvantages kids, especially kids whose parents have a poor education themselves. A lot of adults in the UK have only a very basic grasp of reading and writing and could not help their children at all with preparing for exams.

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